Weedsport, NY — February 3, 2009 – By Tom Skibinski, DIRTcar Racing Northeast PR Director
You can’t always keep a good man down. In Gary Tomkins’ case, you can often take him downunder if it means racing cars in Australia during the winter.
The Advance Auto Parts Super DIRTcar Series Big-Block Modified star from Clifton Springs, New York is scheduled to make a return trip to Australia, leaving today to begin his journey around the globe which includes two short-track race meets on foreign soil.
“I’m hoping Ray (Klarich, owner) will have a similar set-up in the car I’ll be driving when I get down there,” remarked Tomkins, 42, referring to another Bicknell ride that carried local pilot Darren Latimer to a pair of wins recently at Maryborough Speedway (Jan. 31) and Lismore Speedway (Jan. 25). Tomkins is prepared to steer the same no. 95 Super Rooster/Bicknell entry that he competed in three times at the end of 2007.
“Since I drove for Ray we’ve probably talked on the phone at least twice every month. It’s been a lot more often lately getting ready for my departure. Things like how the tracks have been so far and some possible car set-up choices have taken up most of the conversation. We were in contention all three races the last trip, and I want to be just as competitive in both shows this time,” said Tomkins, who will open at Lismore on February 7 before sealing the two-race deal at Charlton Raceway in Toowoomba on February 14. Klarich is a primary sponsor of the Rooster Cup Series with his popular Super Rooster restaurants, specializing in prepared chicken dishes, already established eateries in the area.
Tomkins made a semi-successful debut downunder on November 24, 2007, winning his heat race before brake failure dropped him from the lead in the Brisbane Int’l Speedway feature. He rebounded to capture round no. 2 of the Roosters Cup at Maryborough on December 1, however, the following weekend at Parramatta City Raceway in Sydney he was black-flagged due to a rare high noise reading to drop him from the top-five and squelch any chance of repeating in the ‘Summer Slam’ finale.
Tomkins remains a title contender on the ultra-competitive Advance Auto Parts Series in the USA, garnering the overall Hoosier Tire Mr. DIRTcar Championship in 2004 and posting 78 Big-Block Modified wins on the demanding DIRTcar Northeast circuit. Aboard Doug Dulen’s Honeoye Auto Parts no. 84 Red Parker Excavating/Bicknell entry in 2008, Tomkins finished fourth in the final Mr. DIRTcar point standings with two tour wins and 11 top-5s to his credit.
“I’m more familiar with some of the other drivers now so maybe the expectations might be just a little bit higher. But we thought we were going to be pretty decent coming in last time with all the knowledge Ray brings to the table. Personally, I want to win no matter when or where we race. And I know Ray’s expectations are just as high,” added Tomkins, who will be joined by wife Sue and 15 year-old son Justin as the group traverses the world for a second time in 14 months.
“This is really the ultimate vacation, something I would never dream of otherwise. I can race and spend time with my family taking in some great tourist attractions. I’ll be doing the best I can around the track but no matter what the outcome, it can’t get much better than this,” Tomkins smiled.
For more information about V8 Dirt Modified racing in Australia, please visit www.v8dirtmodifieds.com.au or check out www.lismorespeedway.com.au and www.charltonraceway.com for specific track material.
Log into www.superdirtcarseries.com for additional news about the Advance Auto Parts Super DIRTcar Series for Big-Block Modifieds or surf www.dirtcar.com for notes regarding the entire circuit. DIRTcar Racing Northeast Director of Competition & Track Sanctioning Cory Reed can also be contacted at the DIRTcar Northeast Office (315/834-6606) in Weedsport, New York.
Headquartered in Roanoke, Va., Advance Auto Parts, a leading automotive aftermarket retailer of parts, accessories, batteries, and maintenance items in the United States, serves both the do-it-yourself and professional installer markets As of April 19, 2008, the Company operated 3,291 stores in 40 states, Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands. Additional information about the Company, employment opportunities, customer services, and on-line shopping for parts and accessories can be found on the Company’s web site at www.advanceautoparts.com.
The Advance Auto Parts Super DIRTcar Series for Big-Block Modifieds is brought to fans across the Northeast by several sponsors and partners, including series sponsors Advance Auto Parts, Hoosier Racing Tire and Sunoco Race Fuels. Promotional partners include AMB i.t., Rite Aid Corporation and the University of Northwestern Ohio and the contingency sponsors are Bert Transmission, Bicknell Racing Products, Bilstein Shocks, Brodix Cylinder Heads, Crane Cams, Integra Shocks, MSD Ignitions, Motorsports Safety Systems, Penske Shocks and Wrisco Industries.